Tsushima Island during Squid Fishing
By Tristan Vick
October 31, 2004
Glistening against midnight ripples,
Luminescent light was forged from the deepest blue ocean
Sing a’ song as many a sailor do,
Behold the magnificence painted by the greatest artificer.
A thousand and one eyes winked at yet a thousand more.
The hum of the burning ember, the filament
Talking of majesty with the crush of the wave;
In-between was a dance, an articulation.
Time was not important
No more was reality, unaware of the first bellow and blow.
The wind huffed a warm, salty sentence
Reassuring, comforting, but never really heard,
A faint music beating in tangent with nature’s rhythm;
Clapping caused white foamy spray
Perpetual infinity linked among the golden chains, the night’s air gestured
Pausing, breathing, contemplation, intelligence
They came for the grandeur.
Some people have confused this poem to be a "romantic" love poem. Even though the poem tends to utilize romantic language here and there, the poem was not specifically and ode to love. Or rather, it is an ode to love of nature and the dichotomy that exists between man's world and that of the sea. I wrote my Fiancé an explanation of what I was alluding to when I originally wrote the poem, and I break down the specific traits of the individual lines, which contain information that people may not be aware of. Think of it as a way to read into the facts of the poem, but the deeper meaning is still left to the reader to decide.
A letter to Sayaka in regards to my Poem Squid Safari.
I will explain what my poem means on the literal level, and why it is about squid. Oh, and also, you can read ‘into’ poetry any way you like. If you felt it was about us, then it might make you feel something or remind you of something about us. Even though the poem isn’t about us specifically, YOU are allowed to read poetry anyway you like, including this poem. I’ve taken college courses about this type of thing! Reading deeper into poetry is something everyone does. I used very “romantic” sounding language, so these words can make you feel deep feelings, for me and for squid!
*Oh, I should warn you, the explanation is real long! Very long! Just so you know.*
Squid Safari [I will explain the title at the end, for now just read my explanations in these brackets.]
By Tristan Vick
October 31, 2004
STANZA 1 (A stanza is a section of the poem that looks like a paragraph. Every time it looks like a new paragraph, that is a new stanza. Basically a section of lines which are grouped together, not necesarrily in the propper grammatical structure, but in an artistic one.)
1. Glistening against midnight ripples, [Line 1 is about the way light reflects on water. Knowing that there may be near 3,000 vessels surmounting aproximately 3 million lights three miles off the coast is a sight to behold! Let alone the stars shining and all of this light gets distorted and reflected back off of the sea.]
2. Luminescent light was forged from the deepest blue ocean [Line 2 talks about the luminescent colors that are coming up from the blue water. This is the squid swimming to the surface of the water to see the lights.]
3. Awakening spirits. [Line 3 is about all the squids looking like white ghosts, or spirits, as they all awaken to see the lights and to be in the pressence of light itself.]
4. Sing a’ song as many a sailor do, [Line 4 is about the fisherman singing a lucky song to help catch fish, just like a sailor would sing. A fishing song!]
5. Behold the magnificence painted by the greatest artificer. [Line 5 is 'me' the narrator saying to the reader, look at this beauty of life, squid, man, the ocean, and realize that the greatest artist -GOD made it all.]
1. A thousand and one Eyes winked at yet a thousand more. [Line 1 is a reference to all the squids looking up at all the fishermen, and all of the fishermen looking down at all the squids. 1,001 the number has no more significance than it sounds more fluid than saying Three million. The number isn't specifically borrowed from Arabian Nights, because when you total it the sum is actually 2,0001 eyes looking, but the phrase does harken back to a well recognized litterary story -and may sound more poetic (unintentionally) because of it.]
2. The hum of the burning ember, the filament [Line 2 is about the many lights that squid fishers use. They hum, because of the generators and motors of the boats, and the lights have a buzzing sound. Between the ember and the filament exists the contrast between nature and the man made world. An ember is completely a natural entity, where-as the filament which causes the glowing is made by man. This is my celebration of man re-replicating nature, and the love of his accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Yet I specifially bring nature into it, because without the comparison, you wouldn't have the awe nor beauty that I desire to represent.]
3. Talking of majesty with the crush of the wave; [Line 3 is about the lights and water noises sounding like so much noise, that it sounds like a conversation of actual people talking. Majesty is romantic language, once again bringing emphasis to the magic feeling of this moment. Majesty can also be taken as a reference to God and Nature. Each subject is in conversation with the other. Nature/Man, Man/God, God/Nature and the ocean caries this dialogue.]
4. In-between was a dance, an articulation. [The 'dance' is about all the squid swimming around the boats to see the lights. The movement looks like a dance. Also the boats circling to scoop up and catch the squid also has circular patterns that may appear to be a dance. You could set this to music, and it would be Fantasia.]
1. Time was not important [This is about time slowing down, like on a beautiful night when you look at the stars, you feel calm, and time slows down. Time is slowing down for the squid that look up at the boat lights much the same way we look up at the stars. It may seem heavenly eaven, and heaven has no time, so we have reached this stage of enlightenment when both the squid and man become united in this dance within the world they exist, but also transcending that to a newer world, a more heavenly one. You could call it the 'Poetic' world.]
2. No more was reality, unaware of the first bellow and blow. [This is a metaphor for life. Everything is real, but I am using language which suggests that this is too beautiful to be real. There is a joy and a holiness about it that makes us think back to the artificer, creator, GOD. Time slows, and reality isn't what it appears to be, or even what we think it is. Reality doesn't know how to 'be' in this constant state of artistic creation and realization.]
3. The wind huffed a warm, salty sentence [This line talks about wind. An onomatopoeia for wind blowing is 'huff' or 'puff', but these are in reference to small blowing winds, like a human breathe, or breathing. I utilized it in a way that would make nature seem alive, as if it were breathing, living. Huffing a salty sentence is a play on the smells and sounds of the ocean. The ocean is salty, so it would smell salty. The sentence is speaking about the sound of the water, and the boats and squid swimming in the water, the men singing, and the conversation that progresses between all present to the dance.]
4. Reassuring, comforting, but never really heard, [The sound of water is soothing and comforting, but very faint and soft... so you can barely hear it.]
5. A faint music beating in tangent with nature’s rhythm; [Everything suddenly seems to work together. All the sounds start finding a rhythm that makes it intelligent and song like, even though it alludes to the fishermen catching the flopping squid; a state of constant motion and varying degrees of volume.]
6. Sublimity. [This is the best feeling possible. The night is perfect. The squids are happy to see the lights, and the fishermen are happy to be catching all of the squid. We the readers are happy to enjoy the poem. Nature/Man/God all become one. Everyone is happy.]
1. Clapping caused white foamy spray [This is about the squid caught in the nets, and now they all squirm and try to escape. The noise they make sounds like a clapping, like hands clapping. They smash against the boats, and against each other. The water too is smashing into the boats, making more clapping. White bubbles and foam is made from the water being stirred. More motion.]
2. Perpetual infinity linked among the golden chains, the night’s air gestured [Line 2, here, is about the ripples in the water, and all of the golden lights too, and it all looks like chains linked together as they expand out over the ocean.]
3. Pausing, breathing, contemplation, intelligence [This line is about everything pausing for a moment. The men, the squid, the commotion, everything gets quiet and there is only the sound of breathing. Then only the acknowledgement of thinking, every one is hard at work or waiting for the next wave of squid to swim up.]
They came for the grandeur. [This is about both men and squid. The came for the hunt, and the squid came to see the light. Everyone is happy, but the squid get killed and will be eaten. They all came here to the sea and came together at the point which nature meets the divine. Also Heaven is supposed to be the most glorious and beautiful, full of lights. The squid get to go to a heaven filled with dazzling light. So even though they are dead now, we can still be happy for them, because they weren't wasted. I know, because I ate some of them.]
I titled it “Squid Safari”, because a Safari is a hunt, and an adventure. I thought this would be good, and since not many people know about squid fishing, especially in land locked Montana. I referenced squid in the title so that they may specifically know what the poem is about, or at least ask themselves what do squid have to do with it? Even though most people who read it think it is ONLY about the ocean, or sailing, and the beauty of the ocean; it is not ONLY about these things, but about MANY things. There is under laying meaning, and I hide all the direct connections to the squid because I want the beauty of the language to be read and understood, yet they are both in tangent to one another (on different levels and layers perhaps) and are also part of the same dance. It should be a powerful poem, even on the spiritual level. Yet it is all of these things and more too.